Segments descriptions
      Revolutions Series
Chinese Revolution, Part 1

            Description: Chinese 1

Chinese Revolution, Part 1
                   sampler  4’34”    (69’ lecture)

Premises of ancient China are the basis of both its
strength over 7,000 years and its later weakness
                                  play sampler



Ancient China



Past glory.  Until the 1500s, China is perhaps the most powerful country in the world, reaching back 7,000 years.  Sees itself as “the Middle Kingdom” – heaven, China, and everyone else, an attitude of superiority with the rest of the world.  The class system in traditional China, exemplified by Confucianism, contributes to the stability of its ruling dynasties – the literate class (emperor, courts, land owners, business) and the peasant class.  For a dynasty to fail it must lose support from both classes.  Isolation from the rest of the world – the Great Wall of China.



A remarkable civilization.  Parallel development in sections of the world it spread out in.  Episodes of authority and power in trade, art (the marvel of the 3,500 figures in the Terracotta Army), government bureaucracy (tests for civil service).  Social status by birth.  Rigid paternalistic society.



A sophisticated urban civilization with food supplies for cities.  The palace life, the city life.  Social support system.



Contrast with Europe.  While Europe is in the backward Middle Ages, China's civilization is remarkable.  How Europe of the mid-1600s turns China's isolation into a liability and the cause of its decline using a Chinese invention, gunpowder, against them.



Early 19th century.  England controls India and wants them to sell opium, an addictive drug, to China, an effort to subdue them.  The emperor resists but is forced to accept it by military force.  The drug affects millions of Chinese.



Later 19th century.  Europe in full industrial stage, needing markets, carves out colonies for exploitation.  China is too big so Europe imposes spheres of influence for economic exploitation.  China suffers humiliation of loss of political control and discrimination.  The Boxer Rebellion against foreigners in early 20th century, and complex reactions to the imperialism of Europeans, including the value of bringing modernity.  Being conquered.  The contrast of increasing dominance by the Europeans to the prior conquest by the Mongols, when the Mongols become assimilated by the Chinese, a reversal.




 Chinese Nationalism



The Chinese Republic.  The downfall of the Manchu Dynasty in 1911.  Sun Yat Sen, a physician, becomes president of the new Chinese Republic, wants to modernized China to end exploitation.  He admires the U.S. modernity but fears its exploitation role.  He is sympathetic to the 1917 Bolshevik revolution in Russia and has cordial relations with it, but is not a communist.  Communist parties spring up all over the world encouraged by the Bolshevik revolution.



Chinese Communist Party springs up in 1921.  Russia's advises China's Communist party to cooperate with Sun Yat Sen government because it is too early to oppose it.  Sun Yat Sen dies in 1925, and Chang Kai Check becomes president.  He is dictatorial and corrupt, and prior reforms end.  He suddenly attacks and massacres Chinese communists in port cities, virtually wiping them out.



Mao as rising star.  Mao Tse Tung becomes communist leader.  Why, after the Communist defeat and their 6,000 mile "Long March" in the early 1930s, the journalist, Edgar Snow, predicts in his book, "Red Star Over China," that Mao is the future of China.